Hi to everyone. My names Sonia. Ive had asthma since I was 2 (Im now 36) which has mainly been kept under control by numerous puffs of ventolin, the occasional puff of a preventer inhalfer if/when I remembered and an occasional short course of steroids in an emergency. I must admit that I have very much taken my asthma for granted and seen it more as an inconvenience than a seious disease. However on Boxing Day everything changed. I had my first severe asthma attack which came out of nowhere - id had the sniffles and a bit of a cough in the build up to Xmas but nothing unusual. I woke up wheezy and coughing and cannot begin to describe the panic I felt when I realised my inhalers were not helping. A nightmare trip to A&E followed where I was given 5 nebs in succession and a dose of steroids, none of which helped. I then had a chest xray and was left on a holding ward for 4 hours whilst the attack got progressively worse. Finally my boyfriend, on the 4th attempt, managed to get a doctor to check me again - by this time I was also having a major panic attack as it seemed to me that I was the only person who realised how serious my asthma was. The doctor took blood to test my oxygen levels and came back some 10 minutes later in a complete panic (which obviously frightened me even more). By this time I thought I was going to pass out - whether through lack of oxygen or the panic attack I couldnt tell. I was then rushed straight down to the high dependancy unit attached to a magnesium drip, antibiotics, a heart monitor (which kept going off and frightening my poor boyfriend even more) and 100% oxygen. 24 hours later, stabalised, I was transferred to the respiratory ward where I spent the next 8 days having 4 hourly nebs, 80mg of pred and various new inhalers. It was THE most terrifying experience of my life, the first few days when I could not even walk to the toilet without having to rest with an oxygen mask clamped to my face, are indescribable. And the people I met on that ward will stay with me forever, I wont go into detail except to say that many of them were in a much worse position than myself. It made me realise just how lucky I had been, particularly as I had completely abused my asthma, smoking since I was 14 years old (a nice 30 a day habit) and only randomly taking my inhalers when I felt a bit wheezy etc. Having been home for almost a month I have had plenty of time to reflect. My consultant gave me a long lecture and plenty of literature on my discharge, hence how I found this website. I have read many of the posts over the last few days and realise that I am still one of the lucky ones. I am now a non smoker and will never go back to it. My peak flow is still only averaging around 350 (it used to be 450) but I am improving daily. My steroid course finishes on Friday and, apart from gaining a stone in weight and having an appetite you have to see to believe, I have had no ill effects and hope to go back to work next week. When I first came home I could not see any improvement, I was very emotional and although I have had asthma since I was a baby, this was a whole new experience for me - i felt like i had just been diagnosed. But thankfully, I received my wake up call in time for me to do something about it. I have just started exercising again and am delighted that the inhalers I am taking - qvar and oxis - seem to be doing the trick and I do not need to take ventolin at all anymore. This morning I managed to run for a whole 3 minutes on a treadmill, not bad for someone who couldnt even get up the stairs a couple of weeks ago!! This prompted me to do 2 things - the first was to join this website because I wanted to share this with people who would understand and the second was to look into taking part in something to recognise that I do indeed have asthma and so do many other people who are in a much worse position than myself. I am hoping to take part in the adidas womens challenge 5km run in September on behalf of AUK. Bearing in mind I have never even run for a bus this will be the biggest challenge I have ever faced!! Please wish me luck. I will let you know how I am progressing. S xx
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